Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Campbell.
Melissa, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My journey started with my honorable ancestors. As a Black, Queer and Gender Expansive person, I have always interpreted who I am based on my external environment through my culture, upbringing, and what my family, community and society told me about my identities. I grew up in the Pentecostal Church, which is a very spiritual, deeply ancestral institution connected to Black heritage. The Church was great for creating systems of support in an “extended family” dynamic and really helped to structure my foundation of self-empowerment through honing my spiritual abilities.
However, the Church also perpetuated a lot of shadows, especially around queerness, gender non-conformity and sexuality. I disconnected myself from my spiritual background and the Church in 2011 until 2016, when I entered the Peace Corps as a Healthy Youth volunteer, focusing on sexual and reproductive health and serving in Lesotho of Southern Africa. During this experience, my ability to see the world through an Indigenous lens and connecting with Spirit was activated by my amazing, chosen family of Indigenous descent and by my first experience of sexual shadow work. Shadow work is the integration of our holistic selves, from the parts of us we intentionally present to the world to the darkest parts of us we shun from ourselves.
In the Peace Corps, I experienced sexual trauma and in order to maintain appearances, the Director tried to expel me from the program. The trauma, depression and lack of support I incurred led me to leave the Peace Corps early, as I experienced repeated genital ailments and the retriggering of my childhood sexual trauma. Spirit talks the loudest to us when we are in a place of vulnerability and silence to hear them. During my time of isolation from my family, friends, and fellow Peace Corps volunteers, I realized that Spirit was making a connection between my present-day sexual trauma and my past sexual trauma. The message: I had some healing work to do heal. Sexual trauma for Black people and Other Persons of Color is not linear but rather is quite dynamic. The history of sexual trauma in my life did not just occur for me; it was fermented trauma that has been passed down from generation to generation, starting with colonialism and the violation of Black bodies through slavery, Jim Crow, Western medical experimentation, and other white supremacy barriers to body autonomy and wellness. The power of seeing how my Black, Basotho (people of Lesotho) family healed from colonial trauma in ancestral ways true to their African culture prompted my own spirit to seek healing through my sexual shadow work. However, my mind was not ready and I ran away, coming to San Diego to be with my now former partner.
The magic of reconnecting with my Indigenous roots through my own spirituality is that my honorable ancestors hold me with gentle accountability, community and support to live in my highest potential. Unknowingly, I was always still doing my shadow work when I shared my story with other BIPOC folx (pronounced like folks) who understood exactly how colonialism, racism and intergenerational sexual harm played a crucial role in my trauma because they had experienced similar sexual violations within their own family and communities. Over the years, as I continued to build my relationship with my ancestors and divine team, I found safer spaces to process my traumas through plants/herbs, tarot, movement, witchcraft, and the Four Directions and Elements because these entities held me with unconditional consent, reclamation of power, and recognition of my own divinity and sacredness.
My sexual shadow work journey has shown me that medicine is a spectrum and the only differences of what makes “good” or “bad” medicine is the line we create for ourselves. Every part of me, every profound lesson, every up and down, has taught me something about myself that is a valuable aspect of owning my true, most-authentic self. I created Gold In Calabash to help people who have suffered from sexual trauma, especially of Black, Indigenous, People of Color and gender queer/expansive backgrounds, own our narratives so that every part of our history can be medicine that forges a more consensual, pleasurable, guilt-free, and holistically healed society that is spiritually aligned with our honorable ancestors and divine team. Through my genital tarot readings focused on sexual trauma healing, my course on Sexy Shadow work, and the offering of consulting for businesses and institutions, my work focuses on co-creating wellness that allows people to see the healer within them. My hope is that we always run towards our most healed-selves and most healed communities. As a collective, we can witness blessings that come from doing our spiritual work and answer the call to enact our greatness.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The manifestation of my sexual trauma in the form of UTIs, yeast infections and BV have really taken a toll on my mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing. I have dealt with these ailments for almost five years and every time, I learn something new about myself and holistic practices to mitigate harm. When I use herbalism, prayer or tarot to gain a deeper insight into why these infections keep reoccurring, it has generally paired with greater insight into my sexual trauma history that I discuss with my honorable ancestors, my therapist and/or trusted loved ones. One of the hardest parts of my work is sharing my journey with others. A lot of struggle comes up with the level of intimacy and vulnerability that I had not really anticipated sharing when I first started offering my gifts with others. However, the beauty that comes from experiencing unexpected healing from clients and community members as I see them process their grief into hope is almost priceless (but not quite, because Black people, especially femmes and genderqueer folx do need to be compensated for our healing work in order for it to remain healing)!
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Gold In Calabash?
I provide spiritual guidance for healing sexual trauma for anyone of any gender, race, and/or background, with a special focus of centering Black, Indigenous, People of Color and genderqueer communities. My offerings are all online and composed of tarot readings, Sexy Shadow work courses, and/or sexual healing consulting for groups, business, and institutions (medical, educational, etc.). My business is really different because I combine my experience in the health field with my personal experience in healing my sexual trauma, my spiritual abilities from my church background, my radical ideals as a grassroots organizer, my intersectional lens as a Black and Queer person, and gifts in herbalism to provide a holistic approach towards sustainable healing that community members can incorporate with their own health care providers and/or therapists. I am most proud of taking a leap of faith to create such niche healing tailored for such a dynamic harm that really affects many people in silenced ways. I want people to know that shadow work comes in many forms and different ways; there is no one solution to your soul evolution. With Spirit, your honorable ancestors, and time, all good things come to us and radiate through us to touch all those around us.
Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I am honored to be able to do this work and really hope to change how we interact with one another and all other beings through our progress. The Sacral Chakra, which is the house of sexual energy and a portal for new generations/extension of our lineage, is fire energy, meaning that it has the potential to create or destroy. Our awareness as individuals and as a collective of how we relate and show love to ourselves and how we build bridges among ourselves is pivotal to long-term systems change that can help us flow with the whole rather than humanity working against the greater balance. Gold In Calabash, like many other Black owned-businesses, movements, and initiatives at this time, is stepping up to the plate to restore this balance by breaking the spectrum of Otherness that violates community sacredness. Let’s inherit the healing our ancestors willing provided for us and actively produce (and reproduce) transformation that creates accessible thriving for all!
- Genital Tarot Readings (Genital, Postpartum, or Miscarriage/Early Termination) – $69.69 for a limited time until the end of 2021, then $120 in 2022
- Sexy Shadow Work Course – $120
- Consulting – Free 30 Minute Initial Consultation
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://linktr.ee/goldincalabash
- Instagram: instagram.com/goldincalabash
- Youtube: linktr.ee/goldincalabash (click on GIC Youtube)